Table of Contents

  • Technological progress is transforming societies, economies and people’s lives as never before. The way we work, learn, communicate and consume is being turned upside-down by digitalisation. As artificial intelligence and machine learning begin to reveal their potential, the new wave of change seems set to roll on for decades.

  • New digital technologies, including information and communication technologies (ICTs), artificial intelligence and robotics, are reshaping the way people live, work and learn. Digitalisation presents immense potential to boost productivity and improve well-being. It can give people more power over what they learn, where and when they work, and how they engage in society. However, it can also increase inequalities if some people or regions are left behind. By improving the skills of their populations, countries can ensure the new technologies translate into better outcomes for all. This requires a comprehensive and co-ordinated policy intervention, with skills-related policies as the cornerstone of this package.

  • Digitalisation transforms economies and societies, triggering new policy challenges. Countries’ preparedness to seize the benefits of digital transformation is largely dependent on the skills of their populations and the range of appropriate policies put in place, with skills-related policies as a cornerstone. This chapter proposes a scoreboard to capture countries’ performance in terms of skills, digital exposure and skills-related policy effort. It assesses the extent to which countries have been, are and will be able to make the most of digitalisation through their population’s skills. The chapter provides an overview of the publication. It investigates how policies, particularly those related to skills development and use, can shape the outcomes of digital transformation and ensure that the new technological wave leads to prosperity and better lives for all.

  • This chapter analyses how digitalisation modifies the skills needed and tasks performed by workers. Technology can replace workers in routine tasks that are easy to automate and complement workers in more cognitively demanding tasks that require creativity and problem solving. To investigate these links between digitalisation and workers’ skills and tasks, this chapter uses a new set of empirical analyses based on the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). To successfully navigate the transition to a digital world of work and thrive in it – workers need not only digital skills but also a broad mix of skills, including cognitive and socio-emotional skills. In technology-related occupations, advanced digital skills are necessary. The chapter also assesses the extent to which digital transformation may affect countries and occupations that are lagging behind.

  • The chapter assesses the training needed to make it easier for workers to change occupations and estimates how much it will cost countries to help workers move away from occupations at high risk of automation. To examine the feasibility and cost of occupational mobility, this chapter presents a new set of empirical estimates based on the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). The analysis suggests that with about one year of training, an average worker in most occupations at high risk of automation could move to a low- or medium‑risk occupation. The total cost of helping workers in occupations at high risk of automation move away from this risk varies between countries. It may range from less than 0.5% to over 2% of one year’s GDP in the lower bound estimate and from 1% to 10% of one year’s GDP in the upper bound estimate. However, these costs need not be sustained all at the same time or in one year. These are experimental estimates based on available data. They do not attempt to capture the overall training needed to help all workers face changes in their jobs, but only the training needed for the workers most at risk of losing their jobs. Policies that encourage simultaneous working and learning – through flexible education and training programmes and informal learning – are fundamental to mitigate the cost.

  • Digitalisation transforms the way people live, bringing both opportunities and challenges. This chapter investigates social changes arising from the ubiquity of smartphones and Internet connections, the types of skills people need to make the most of these changes, and how education and training policies can best provide those skills. The “digital divide”, which initially concerned gaps in Internet access, increasingly concerns the different ways people are able to use the Internet and the benefits they derive from their online activities. Skills appear to be an important factor behind these differences. A wide range of policies is needed to ensure that the use of technologies does not exacerbate inequalities between individuals or hinder well-being. Schools have a key role in teaching values and skills to combat cyberbullying and excessive use, while local communities can help older individuals to develop basic digital skills.

  • This chapter examines the opportunities that technology offers for skills development, in schools, higher education and throughout life. It explores the relationship between technology use in schools and students’ performance. It also investigates teachers’ use of new technologies and how policies can unlock the potential of technology for teaching and learning. Outside schools, technology offers new sources of lifelong learning through open education and massive open online courses. This chapter shows that inequalities persist in adults’ participation in online learning activities and discusses how governments can adapt systems for recognising and certifying skills when sources for learning diversify.

  • This chapter considers two policy objectives that have a key role to play in making the most of the digital transformation: fostering lifelong learning and ensuring geographical inequalities do not exacerbate. Lifelong learning is critical so that all workers and citizens can adapt to changes at work and changing societies. Strong lifelong learning systems rely on a combination of policies that provide high-quality education and training for all, anticipate changes in the demand of skills and ensure that education and training systems are well aligned with labour market needs. Policies are also needed that facilitate mutually reinforcing local benefits of skills and technology in order to prevent the magnification of regional differences. While different in nature, the need to foster lifelong learning and the need to prevent geographical inequality both require a comprehensive approach to the digital transformation that co-ordinates a range of policies and actors.